Culture of Hoops

NBA Survivor

Previously on Survivor, former NBA player Scot Pollard was voted out of the game after a little Vietnamese man named Tai didn’t give him a hidden immunity idol he promised he would give him. Pollard joined former All-Star and Sixth Man of the Year winner Clifford Robinson as the only NBA players to play the game of Survivor.

Naturally, Pollard’s elimination got me thinking about what NBA player should be the next to play Survivor. Then I started thinking about what would happen if there was a season with only NBA players. Then I started thinking about what players playing in the postseason right now would be most fun to watch on Survivor. Then I thought about who would win that hypothetical game of Survivor. Then I realized I had something to write about for today. So here are the rules that I’ve made up completely out of thin air for this imaginary game of Survivor:

1st Voted Out: Dwight Howard (Western Conference Tribe)
Why I Chose Him For The Show: Because he’s thoroughly unlikeable (those kind of people are always fun to watch on Survivor though) and it seems like Dwight would be the kind of guy who would actually go on Survivor someday, bust his ass in challenges and make all of his past coaches think, “Shit, why didn’t he always bust his ass playing for me?”
Why He’d Be Voted Out: Because he’s thoroughly unlikeable and in reality he wouldn’t bust his ass during the first immunity challenge. There’s no way any of the guys on his tribe could deal with him for more than three days. And once Dwight started to feel like he was going to get voted out there’s a 95 percent chance he’d just quit the show before tribal council. I hate Dwight Howard and so should you.
2nd Voted Out: Jonas Valanciunas (Eastern Conference Tribe)
Why I Chose Him For The Show: Because he looks like under the circumstances of living on an island for a month he could pull off the barbarian look better than just about anyone else in the NBA. I also like to think that he would approach any sort of physical challenge just like he approaches grabbing offensive rebounds … relentlessly with brute force.
Why He’d Be Voted Out: Because I don’t know if he speaks English, and a crucial part of the game of Survivor is being able to talk to people using the English language.
3rd Voted Out: Lance Stephenson (Western Conference Tribe)  
Why I Chose Him For The Show:
Why He’d Be Voted Out:
4th Voted Out: Kelly Olynyk (Eastern Conference Tribe)
5th Voted Out: Matthew Dellavedova (Eastern Conference Tribe)
Why I Chose Them For The Show: Because they both look like they would be ravaged with bug bites, and the “look at how badly everyone has gotten annihilated by bugs” segment on Survivor never gets old.
Why He’d Be Voted Out: Neither would be voted out. They’re both just so reckless/clumsy they’d probably run into each other during a challenge, or stumble into the fire at camp, and have to be helicoptered off the island because of their injuries.
6th Voted Out: Draymond Green (Western Conference Tribe)
Why I Chose Him For The Show: Because he’d probably be the most polarizing person to ever play Survivor, right up there with Boston Rob, Russell Hantz and Richard Hatch. He talk so much shit to the other tribe. He’d talk shit to his own tribe members. He’d talk shit to the camera men. He’d talk shit to the animals he met on the island.He’d probably even talk shit to Jeff Probst.
Why He’d Be Voted Out: Because you don’t talk shit to Jeff Probst and get away with it. And because there’s no way all those dudes in the Western Conference would let the Warriors win another thing.
7th Voted Out: Chris Kaman (Western Conference Tribe)
Why I Chose Him For The Show: Because I guarantee Chris Kaman can actually hunt and spearfish and start a fire and that would be crucial to the actual survival of some of our favorite basketball stars. We need a caretaker out there, and that caretaker is Chris Kaman.
Why He’d Be Voted Out: These types of players always get voted out right before the merge since there’s a collective fear that they could either flip to the other tribe or make it far in the game because they are a provider. And because, well, does Chris Kaman really fit in with everyone else in the game?
8th Voted Out: David West
Why I Chose Him For The Show: Because just about every other Spurs player would be boring AF out there and David West is one bad motherfucker.
9th Voted Out: Chandler Parsons
Why I Chose Him For The Show: Because he’s destined to be on Bachelor in Paradise someday, and I’m not going to be writing about BiP until season three starts up this summer. So for now we have to live with Chandler Parsons participating in an imaginary season of Survivor.
10th Voted Out: Paul Pierce
Why I Chose Him For The Show: Because he’s old and he would eventually rub everyone the wrong way, but he’d be totally convinced he was going to win. I love those kinds of Survivor players. Every time they talk privately to a camera guy for an interview they talk about how they’re controlling the game and then the very next scene is three people talking shit about that person. Also, Pierce’s patchy facial hair would be out of control. Think about it; when he has the opportunity to groom his beard it looks terrible. How dreadful would that look if he didn’t look at himself in a mirror for three weeks?
Why These Three Would Be Voted Out: So here’s where we’re at in the show: The Eastern Conference Tribe has the numbers advantage, and they can essentially pick off members of the Western Conference Tribe until they are all eliminated. Typically how this works is the tribe with the numbers will vote the strongest players out first and work their way down to the weakest member. So that means David West (a bad motherfucker), Chandler Parsons (a gamer with excellent social skills; he’d be better off in the real version of Survivor where there would be women on the island) and Paul Pierce (with his patchy ass beard) are all next to go because I can only assume Russell Westbrook would be able to keep himself safe by winning Immunity over and over again.
11th Voted Out: Stanley Johnson
Why I Chose Him For The Show: Because he’s built like a God damn thoroughbred — there’s literally no way he’d break down on the island. Plus, he’s fearless. He’s 19 years old and he’s talking shit to and about LeBron and the Cavaliers bench during the Playoffs when he’s down 0-2 in a series. I love this kid.
Why He’d Be Voted Out: Because he’s the young physical threat that isn’t in the majority alliance that is running the merged tribe. One quick note on Stanley Johnson, the basketball player: I don’t mind it at all that he’s ran his mouth in the direction of LeBron James. I think it’s great. I think it’s great that he called out the Cavaliers bench. There’s nothing wrong with this, and the people who are losing their minds are hypocrites because they’re the same people who talk about how the league isn’t as competitive now because the players are too friendly with each other. Sure, from a strategy standpoint it’s not the savviest move. We can at least enjoy the contention between playoff teams and cool it with the collective hissy fit.
12th Voted Out: Jeremy Lin
Why I Chose Him For The Show: Diversity and crazy hair.
Why He’d Be Voted Out: Because he’s a Harvard guy and the remaining players would fear that if they allowed Lin to get to the Final Tribal Council he’d be able to craft a compelling verbal argument as to why he should be awarded the money. You see a move like this on literally every season of Survivor.
13th Voted Out: Russell Westbrook
Why I Chose Him For The Show: Because he’s the most competitive guy in the league and it seems like no island-related injury could slow him down. One time he finished a game with a torn meniscus. Another time he finished a game with a broken face.
Why He’d Be Voted Out: Because he’s the last remaining Western Conference Tribe member and up to this point I have him slated to win every single individual immunity challenge because Russell Westbrook is half human and half puma. They’d have to get rid of Russ the first chance they got because if he made the Final Two he’d win the whole thing. Luckily for everyone else playing NBA Survivor, Russ’ late game short-comings aren’t exclusive to basketball.
3rd Place: Paul George
Why I Chose Him For The Show: Because he survived a compound fracture of the lower leg. I’d give up on life right then and there if that happened to me. I for sure would never run or jump again. PG could definitely live on an island for a month without being fazed.
Why He’d Get Voted Out: Because the two remaining players would realize that his sympathetic story (ya know, his leg snapping and puncturing his skin) could pull on the heart strings of the voters. Again, this is a Survivor cliché that we see so often. The single parent who is trying to provide for their kids, the war veteran, the guy who lost his job to come on the show, the girl whose Mom died right before the show started … these kinds people never win Survivor because they never make the Final Two.
2nd Place: Udonis Haslem
Why I Chose Him For The Show: Because even though he’s an intimidating dude it seems like he’d be oddly competent playing a game like Survivor. Like, I feel like he could keep things in check and turn out to be a decent game strategist long enough to make a deep run in the game. I can’t explain it. He’s a bad dude, but he probably knows the right times to keep his mouth shut.
Why He’d Get Second Place: I think when backed into a corner he’d resort to his intimidation tactics during the Final Tribal Council and it wouldn’t go over well. Plus, out of principle, he probably wouldn’t get a vote from Paul Pierce, Paul George or David West because of previous NBA rivalries.
Winner: Paul Millsap
Why I Chose Him For The Show: Because he went to the same college as Karl Malone, and Karl Malone is probably more equipped to play the game of Survivor than anyone else on the planet. I can only assume everyone who went to Louisiana Tech is wired like The Mailman is.
Why He’d Win: Because I imagine his Survivor strategy would be similar to his basketball skills; very balanced, good at everything but not great at anything. Perpetually underrated even as we always talk about him being underrated. He’d play a fantastic game, fly under the radar and gain the approval of his peers when it mattered most … Final Tribal Council. Congratulations Paul, you’ve won NBA Survivor. The tribe has spoken.
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